Health system resource strain became an urgent concern early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Hard-hit areas exhausted their hospital beds, ventilators, personal protective equipment, staffing, and other life-saving essentials, while other regions scrambled to prepare for inevitable surges. These resource concerns heightened the need for accurate, localized hospital capacity planning. With additional waves of infection in the summer months following the initial spring 2020 crisis, health systems must continue to forecast resource demands for the foreseeable future. An accurate capacity planning tool uses population demographics, governmental policies, local culture, and the physical environment to predict healthcare resource needs and help health systems prepare for surges in patient demand.
Learn more about John Hansmann, MSIE, LFHIMSS, DSHS
John Hansmann, MSIE, FHIMSS, DSHS joined Health Catalyst in October, 2015 as a Sr. Director. He has over 30 years of healthcare experience in operations, productivity management, strategic and IT analyses. Prior to coming to Health Catalyst, John was the Senior Director of Labor Management & Productivity for Tenet Healthcare Corporation. Prior to Tenet, John worked for Intermountain Healthcare as the Urban South Region Manager of Management Engineering. He has expertise in the development of standardized nursing care models and staffing practices, optimizing patient throughput, work redesign and leading workflow analysis. John is a Fellow of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), a senior member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and Diplomate within the Society for Health Systems (SHS.) He is a past Board member for HIMSS and past President for SHS. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for the school of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (IME) at North Dakota State University (NDSU.) He received his BSIE and MSIE from NDSU.
Read articles by John Hansmann, MSIE, LFHIMSS, DSHS
While the world waits for a vaccine or effective treatment for COVID-19, managing disease spread is paramount. For health systems, patient and staff contact tracing is one of the top transmission-control strategies. Because the virus appears to spread mainly through respiratory droplets from person-to-person contact, knowing where infected individuals have been and with whom they’ve been in contact is an essential capability. With this insight, organizations can manage transmission with data-driven emergency planning and monitoring capabilities. The resulting appropriate and timely workflow modifications will serve disease control efforts during the 2020 pandemic and help health systems prepare for future outbreaks.
Healthcare process improvement leaders not only have to be a jack-of-all-trades, but they need to be a master, as well. This is one of the most important leadership roles in the healthcare system with responsibilities that can ultimately end up saving lives, improving the patient experience, improving caregiver job satisfaction, and reducing costs. Although there are many others, these eight skills are the most critical for the efficient, and ultimately, successful process improvement leader:
Understanding Process Management
Understanding Care Management Personnel
Constructive Accountability and Constructive Conflict
Resiliency and Persistency
Seeing the Big Picture
Along with the right training, education, and sponsorship, it’s easy to see why this role blends many elements of art and science.
When expenses exceed revenue, business has a financial problem. In healthcare, the focus has been on revenue for so long, we’ve lost sight of runaway costs brought about by high labor and technology expenses, inefficient use of resources, and supply waste. Recognizing the cost problem is a big first step toward solving it.
Five expense-controlling strategies can play a significant role in returning healthcare systems to a stronger financial position:
Refocus on labor management.
Manage employed physicians.
Change the patient encounter environment.
Augment standard approaches with technology.
Manage patient access and flow through the healthcare system.
With new, value-based payment structures, shrinking margins, and decreasing reimbursements, this insight offers some new ways to think about expense inefficiency and how to get costs under control.